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Towards the establishment of water management in Abu Dhabi Emirate

"The Abu Dhabi Emirate is the largest of the seven emirates that compose the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Parallel to the growth of the country, the Abu Dhabi Emirate has witnessed remarkable development in many aspects of life over the past 35 years. This rapid development into a modern urban environment and the accompanying surge in population, caused by a major influx of foreign labour, have been imposing tremendous pressure on natural resources including water. The challenges of maintaining a sustainable freshwater supply in the Abu Dhabi Emirate are many. Conventional water resources are limited. Surface water is almost absent due to the scarcity of rainfall coupled with arid conditions. Groundwater is mostly brackish and non-renewable. Over-pumping practices have resulted in a severe decline in groundwater levels and quality. The growing salinity in the ground water has impacted the increased salinity of agricultural land. In addition, water availability and demand are both subject to seasonal fluctuations, particularly during the hot and humid summer months. In the Abu Dhabi Emirate there is a high demand for freshwater used for irrigation of farmland, forests and landscaping; industrial and commercial uses; amenities and domestic use. A large portion of this demand is provided by desalinated water, which is expensive to produce. The need for rational water management is critical. Forecasting water demand is currently being used as the basis for the production expansion planning in order to meet the water demand for the emirate. With steady projected increases, the capacity to provide a continuous supply of freshwater is vital. Interruptions in the supply can be caused by emergencies and the minimum 1-year lead time needed for new desalination plant construction. Having an adequate storage system addresses some of the concerns related to establishing a freshwater supply. The Abu Dhabi Emirate needs long-term storage capacity equivalent to at least 1 year’s fresh water demand. One method of increasing this capacity is artificial recharge using excess produced desalinated water and treated wastewater. While there are currently pilot projects using this technique, more widespread use could be very beneficial. This paper describes the current water resources, water demands and techniques of storing water for future recovery in the emirate through artificial recharge techniques."
Al-Katheeri, ES
water resource management
Industry Focus: 
Food & Agriculture
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